Monday, October 12, 2015

She Makes it Look Easy - Marybeth Whalen

Ariel, her husband David, and their 3 boys are finally "movin' on up," to a nicer neighborhood.  She's sad to be leaving behind her neighbor friend, Kristy, but more excited to be moving into a beautiful house and eager to make new friends.  Justine, her husband Mark, and their two girls live in the house behind Ariel's new house - the house of Justine's best friend Laura, whom she's sad to see go.  Reluctant, at first, to befriend the new family, Justine eventually makes Ariel's acquaintance and takes her under her wing to introduce her to the "right" people in the neighborhood, and to teach her to get her life organized.  Ariel sees Justine as a mentor and friend, the perfect woman with the perfectly clean house and perfectly behaved children, someone she can only aspire to be as her boys burn their energy with dirt and noise.  As such, Ariel finds herself taking Justine's advice on everything, including who she should be friends with, and how she should spend her time.  The more that Ariel puts into the friendship, the more she starts to suspect that the friendship is lopsided, and perhaps Justine isn't interested in Ariel for the same type of friendship that Ariel is looking for.  If she's not spending time with Ariel for the friendship, what is she using Ariel for?  And is "using" Ariel what she's really after?

I'm not sure where to start with this review; the book was definitely well-written, I was sucked into the story of these vastly different women immediately.  However, when a character turns into someone you not only don't like, but who seems to have no hopes of redemption within the story, it takes a bit of life out of the story.  The only good that one could take from this story, then, is the side of the character who realizes that nothing is as it seems, and that even those who look like they're living perfect lives usually have problems beneath their bright smiles and perfect clothes.  With that in mind, it's easier to accept one's own shortcomings and faults as part of life.

While I felt the book was intriguing, it fell short for me on any redeeming story line.  There were a few hints of growth on Ariel's part, but the downfall of Justine was left hanging with no hope.  Even the prologue indicated that there may have been regret, but not remorse.  Also - the book never circled back to the prologue, leaving the reader to wonder what happened in the space between the book's closing and its opening - not leaving any pleasant options.

I give this book 3 stars.  It was a quick read, and I read most of it hoping the characters would realize the paths they were on and change them, but it just left me feeling incomplete.

You can find She Makes it Look Easy HERE.
You can find the author's site HERE.
(This does seem to be an earlier release from this author, and I have enjoyed other, later, publications more than this one)

I received this book from NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher, in exchange for my honest review.